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    PJDKSMITH   17,827
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Niagara Falls International Marathon-October 23, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

So- where to begin.
Since Christmas Eve, I have been planning on doing a marathon. My BFF's husband screwed up my gift to her (a Garmin) and bought her what I did. So I had to come up with something VERY quickly for a Christmas gift that showed I love her very much. So we had talked about our bucket lists and that one day we would like to do one. She was going to do one in October and I was going to do another half. I told her that I just didn't have it in me to go that far. I'm too heavy, I run too slow, and really? Running for hours on end just doesn't fit into this full time nurses calendar. But.. I had to show her how much I love her, so to show my dedication, I signed up for the Niagara Falls Marathon for October as well. She was pleased as punch that I would go the distance for her, as a gift. I... was scared spitless.

So all this time we planned, in May we ran a half marathon again, don't know if I even posted anything about that one, (will check and do so if I need to) and it sucked. Way too hot. This summer was WAY too hot, WAY too many bugs and I did one long run of 26km or 16 miles that was so bad that I couldn't even step OVER road kill, I stepped ON it. I was THAT tired. I hit the wall, and hit it hard. It was a long 8 km walk back home.

So in August we decided that due to injuries (torn gastrocnemius for me and back issues for her) we would step down and change into the marathon RELAY. It was a load off our minds and our bodies AND our stupid training which never went by the books.
Our friends Marc and Aimee were upset (it was to be their first marathon as well) but we explained why and they were ok with that. Disappointed, but 'ok'.

In October, our friend Aimee decided at the last moment to change her half marathon (Smutty Nose) to a full marathon. Just to see if she could. The pressure was off, but you know what? Even though it was last minute, even though she hadn't trained for it, even though she'd only been running for 1 year.. SHE DID IT!

So, in speaking with Penni (BFF) we talked it over and thought.. well.. if SHE could do it.. why not us? Life isn't easy. A marathon isn't easy. BUT, how do you KNOW you can't do it unless you try? How can you expect to EVER be ready for one? We poured over past blogs about training less distances then the full marathon. There were lots of people.
We made the decision and switched back. The only difference? We told NO ONE.
Not spouses, not co-workers, not running friends. NO ONE. You know why??? Because we were terrified of a DNF. TERRIFIED. For some reason, I'm not able to associate myself with quitting. Just can't do it.
But we were also freaking out because we were ill prepared. But we decided to try it anyways.
When we had announced that we were not prepared for the full marathon, my mom was relieved. "You shouldn't be running those distances with 5 sacks of potatoes on you". It IS hard, probably harder than being 50 pounds less. Well, actually I KNOW its easier if I was thinner. But it wasn't happening. Weight loss is not happening. Big appetite and despite running for HOURS, no loss. Many people said it was probably muscle, but I know better. This fat around my middle KNOWS it ain't muscle.

I've got a big appetite, I eat large portions. I sometimes chose the wrong type of food. Too high sodium. Too high carbs. One day, I'll be back down to 180's and less, but for now, I'm over 200 pounds. And 200 pounds running for 6-7 hours is NOT my idea of a good time.

So

We tell no one. Assume its a relay. Anticipated time is over 6 hours. 3 hours for Penni, and 3 hours for me. My parents are going to meet us at the finish line. I can't tell my mom because she will have a heart attack with nerves and stress thinking about her baby doing something stupid like a marathon.

We went to Niagara Falls again, this time we know what to do, where to go and what to expect. We had dinner with our friends Marc and Aimee and finally told them what are plans were. They were ecstatic. Marc especially. We were pumped. This was going to be FUN. We were going to finish, and we were going to do it TOGETHER. Which, also took a load off because I knew that if I was hurting I'd have friends to push me, to keep me positive and cheer me on, and I would do the same for them (although they never needed it).

And so, our journey begins..

More to follow

Its been a few months; so its gets harder to remember, the more time passes.
We stayed at a great place, and had a wake up call, and 2 alarms set. Either way, we were up at dawn anyways. The plan was for me to tell my mom at the last minute that I was doing the full marathon, because, honestly? I thought she'd have a stroke if she knew I was going to attempt it.
We waited for our friends (Gotta say I hate relying on other people to arrive on time); and made it to our bus on time (2 min to spare!) and made our way towards Buffalo.. around and around and around.. guess the bus driver never actually figured out how to GET there! Some passengers had to tell her (hey! No jokes about female drivers!)
Made it to the Museum and we went inside and used the TWO bathrooms.. omg.. that many people waiting in line was ridiculous. It was just as bad outside. HUGE lines. I waited until everyone was actually ready for the gun before I attempted to go. I'm always at the back anyways, and so a few minutes goes by after the gun and I have free toilets! Chip time is chip time!
We all started together and the people we were running with Marc and Aimee, do shorter interval runs 3:1 vs Penni and I, which we do 10:1; but figured, 1. We've never gone this distance, 2. We've never gone this distance.. lol.. so we went slow and easy.
Marc has bad knees. NO knees pretty much, so slow was ok for me. Slower than I would have ran if I was alone, but glad I wasn't alone. We started at the end, and there we stayed.
I posted on facebook on the bus ride that we had changed our minds and decided to do the full marathon, so there was a lot of 'pinging' of notifications to tell us good luck and that we were crazy.
The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Sunny, 15 degrees, with a light breeze.
We made our way through Buffalo through the residential streets. Not a whole lot of community support, but it was a nice area. Then on to a yucky area before hitting the bridge. Lots of road killed squirrels and one road killed rat. The bridge was awesome, running right through customs (the custom guy saw us on the bus before we even crossed into the US). Lots of pics here.. will post later.
The other side of the bridge was commercialized and truck stopish. Not a great area, glad I had people around me.
Then we saw others!!! AWESOME!! They were like RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!! We could see them! Then.. realized that they were actually about 3 km ahead of us and we had a LONG way to go just to catch up!

No the area was running along side the Niagara River and it was pretty, beautiful houses.
Still running 3:1 but things are starting to ache.. a lot. Feet, knees, yep.. I was updating Facebook every few miles, to let people know our progress, my mom was happy with this as she could gauge how long before she had to leave home.

We knew we were falling behind at the 15km mark. WAY off, like 30 min off our usual half marathon time. But we kept going.
Marc was really hurting by the half marathon mark. His knees were like glass.. and I knew where he was coming from. I hurt everywhere. There was NO place that didn't hurt.. well.. ok.. my calves felt great, but I had on zenzah leg sleeves, and I gotta admit, they were AWESOME.. I never wear new stuff in races, but I figured, if they didn't feel good, I'd take them off and stuff them in a pocket, right?

At the half way mark, Marc couldn't go on, and we were torn, not wanting to leave him behind. We were more than 30 min off our longest half marathon time; but didn't want to leave him either. He insisted we go. But then, I was actually a bit miffed, because we went way slower than we normally did because he set the pace, and the ratio, and now how do you make up for that after falling behind SO far?? It only gets worse, not better.

Then I realized that I probably wouldn't have finished if I had gone any faster, or any longer ratios.. there's no way. So he did me a favour by doing what he did. And for that, I'm grateful.

We had reduced our ratio to 2:1 by this point and it was just 'us girls" now. We talked about how much FUN this was going to be. How we'd chat and laugh and giggle.
Well... yeah.. nope.. not for me. My two partners stuck by my side, and for that I'm grateful again. But I'm a very private person when it comes to suffering and omg, I suffered. Every step was painful. Walk breaks got longer, and run times got slower.
Their pace was extremely slowed because of me; they wouldn't leave me.
They had no pain.. no suffering.. until
yes.. that's right.. they FINALLY suffered.. lol.. (I'm so mean).. Penni was about 20 miles in before she started hurting.. and yes.. we cried.. and cried.. and cried.. and laughed (well, not me.. ).. ;0)
I listened to them talk, as I didn't have the energy to do anything but put one foot in front of the other.
I remember saying that I just couldn't do it anymore.. the running part.. I had to walk.. and as long as I kept my walking at a certain pace.. under 11 min/km that we would make the cut off mark. We walked for almost 12 km.. that's right.. THEY walked (and could have run) for TWELVE km's.. THAT is love.. THAT is dedication!

Penni and I had a secret word for giving up.. her's was 'kitty" and mine was 'pineapples".. I soon started screaming out pineapples (ok.. in a hoarse voice that only she could hear) and yet I kept going.. kept moving.. I feared that if I stopped I would never be able to get going again.

After all my worries about how to fuel for SEVEN hours.. what to drink, when to drink.. what to eat.. I had a half a piece of multigrain pita bread. I had GU stuff in a large bottle that I sucked on. Aimee gave me some electrolyte capsules to prevent cramps. How do you know if they have worked when your entire body is one big cramp? I didn't have stomach cramps.. or leg cramps.. the WHOLE body was one huge mass of the worst spasm you have ever experienced.

At the park, we thought the falls were around the corner, and we started to panic that we weren't going to make the cutoff.. something was remembered about 7 hours.. I thought it was 7 hrs 30 min. I knew there were 2 behind us for sure.
I also know that they were shutting down aid stations before we got there, tearing down porta potties and water stations.. a few left some cups for us; but the Heed had bees in it.. a bit disappointing.

As we rounded the bend we ran.. held hands.. and ran.. and the freakin end didn't come.. we couldn't see the stupid finish line banner.. and then one more corner.. and we did.. still holding hands we sprinted to the end... and notorious for me.. yes. .I totally and utterly pissed myself as I crossed the finish line holding the hands of the best two women you could ever meet.

My time?
7:00:02. HOLY CRAP

Talk about body cramping.. seizing of muscles.. the worse Charlie Horse you have ever had.. ALL OVER.. EVERYWHERE.
My mom was there, my dad... crying and sobbing

more photos later with better updates.. time is of the essence.. before I'm too old and forget!!!




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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ITSHOWYOULIVE 11/3/2011 10:49PM

    Ooooo!! So excited to hear the rest!

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JOPAPGH 11/3/2011 7:40AM

    Looking forward to the race report!

Niagara Falls 2011 was my first marathon, on my 51st birthday. Check out my last two blogs for my Niagara Falls marathon story and race report.

John

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